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As part of its on-going commitment to make its services relevant and useful to more people, Facebook has recently announced that it had made an update to its Safety Check feature in a way to allow the community to both initiate and promote the service on Facebook. This new community-initiated feature will enable people in a crisis to signal whether or not Safety Check would be useful for them and others in their community.

Safety Check, simply put, is a simple and easy way to tell loved ones that you’re safe, and check on others during a crisis. The tool was developed following the Japanese tsunami in 2011 to help people connect during natural disasters and expanded to non-natural disasters in late 2015. Until now, it could only be activated by The Safety Check Facebook team, who decides whether the tool should be switched on based on scope, scale and duration of the event. With this new update, the service now could also be initiated organically by the Facebook community, making the community input become a stronger signal for when the service could be helpful.

Safety Check is a symbol of how important and impactful technology can be in helping people: Safety Check notifications have reached one billion people in 2016 alone.

Over 136 million people in the Middle East and North Africa are active on a monthly basis, connecting and sharing with one another. This is especially true during times of crisis, when communication is critical both for those in the affected area and for those far away who are anxious for news from their loved ones. Community Generated Safety Check now allows communities to signal the need for the feature in their areas.

Safety Check: How It Works?

If you’re near a major crisis, you can tell Friends if you’re safe and check to see if they’re safe, too.

  • Check Notifications – If it looks like you may be near a major crisis, we’ll ask if you’re safe.
  • Say That You’re Safe – If you’re OK, click or tap the “I’m Safe” button to let friends and loved ones know straight away.
  • Check on Others – We’ll let you know when friends say that they’re safe. You can also check a list of friends who may be affected by the disaster.
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